Professor Tom Solomon, the President of the Encephalitis Society, is asking for your support during his 12 Days of Tom Christmas campaign.

During the 12 Days of Tom, we will be highlighting different ways that our President contributes to research, healthcare and the Encephalitis Society (plus a few other bits and bobs, including his book about Roald Dahl). See our social media channels for more about the 12 Days of Tom.

Make a donation and support the Encephalitis Society this Christmas.

"I write to you during what is the challenge of my professional career.

This has been a testing six months for all of us, but I can assure you that the resolve
of myself and my colleagues who are on the frontline and leading the research into COVID-19, remains undimmed.

What our research is beginning to show, is that some COVID-19 survivors can also contract encephalitis as a complication of the virus, with some people ending up with a permanent injury to the brain as a result. That’s a devastating thing for me to tell you all, but what

I am confident of is that today we are much better placed to identify, treat and support anyone who becomes ill with encephalitis generally or as a result of COVID-19.

That wasn’t the case 22 years ago when I first become involved with the Encephalitis Society.

Back then – in 1998 – no one in the UK was working solely on encephalitis in terms of research. Hardly anyone had even heard of the disease!

Our first breakthrough was a multi-million pound project involving the Liverpool Brain Infections Group and the Encephalitis Society. That was a giant leap for all of us and, I am very happy to say, research into encephalitis has continued across the world and is poles apart from those early days.

My own involvement with the Encephalitis Society has led to many rewarding personal accomplishments also. In 2010, I broke a Guinness World Record when I ran the fastest marathon by someone dressed as a doctor – raising £20,000.

Then, for the first World Encephalitis Day in 2014, we wanted to put a marker down and shout from the rooftops that “encephalitis matters!”. So, with the help of the University of Liverpool’s staff, students, patients and the public, we created the “World’s Biggest Brain.”

If you had asked me when I started volunteering with the Encephalitis Society that I would have two Guinness World Records, I would have laughed. But then that is what is great about the Encephalitis Society. No obstacle is too big, no problem cannot be solved. We are always the underdog and yet, with your support, constantly punch above our weight.

That is why I am confident that the Encephalitis Society will continue to meet the challenges of COVID-19 head-on and help people who are confronted by a new reality of life after encephalitis.

Sadly, due to COVID-19, there will be lots of stories to come which is why we will continue to need to ask for your help. The Encephalitis Society team are working tirelessly behind the scenes to secure grants to continue work into research, fund support and cover running costs. We have had lots of support already – our members and friends have raised £31,000 since the start of the lockdown – but I want to double that between now and Christmas.

I don’t often ask people directly for money, but I am asking for your help today. This time, I can’t run a marathon as I am too busy looking after patients and leading research, but maybe you do have time to do that. If you have already donated money, I want to thank you. But maybe you could ask friends or family or anyone who is happy to help. Maybe you can run a marathon? Do the Couch to 5k, bake a cake or do a sponsored readathon? Anything you can do to help us would be wonderful.

We need to support people who have encephalitis as a result of COVID-19 as well as all those people with other forms of brain inflammation that need our help.

We really do need your help – but together I think we can do it.

Professor Tom Solomon

President of the Encephalitis Society